This is the place where I record my current learning experiences with horses. I’m personally aiming to become an excellent horsewoman, but the nature of horses is that they are truly catalysts for personal development. So, while half of my musings will be from a point of observation and communication with horses, this only reflects the way that I am personally developing. Because of this, it is my hope that you can relate to my blog on whatever level you wish. If you are a fellow horseman-in-training: good to meet you, it's wonderful to be on the same journey! But at the same time, if you are a complete stranger to me or to horses, you are just as welcome. Hopefully this blog will bring you some amusement; even if it is just laughing at how mad we horse people can be!

In this blog, you can find pages about my life so far, mentors, and of course, horses and my adventures with them.

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory..."

Saturday, December 25, 2010


Don't you just love it when something revelationary hits you in the face?

I like discovery, and oftentimes we discover through interest, and oftentimes that interest can make things revelationary. Now, I've found that reading is one of the best ways in which to discover. I happen to read quite a few blogs, so quite quickly develop my own little sieve that measures 'blog posts according to Kerrin.' You get your standard 'blahhdiblaah and so on and so forth blogs' then, you get your technical blogs, followed by airy fairy blogs, followed by 'dear diary' type of blogs. BUT profound blogs can be found in any of these categories.

I can't tell you how refreshing it is to read a revelationary blog post. A profound blog post. One starts reading, and baaadaboom... you're glued... interested... enjoying the blog.... yes.

On that note, I'd like to share this little 'fail blog' with you.

Now that you're probably wondering why your on such a silly site, here's a decent blog post:Parelli Dubai Style

Merry Christmas, all. I'm off to bed so that I'll be up in time for work tomorrow! Yes, I have to work on boxing day. No, I didn't get time off. Yes, I am getting paid overtime. Result!

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I am about to write an entirely selfish post, but hopefully, an interesting one =D! I'm sitting here with a massive mug of hot chocolate, and I can't sleep... so its clearly time to write a blog about ME, and more specifically, my routine.

Here's how my English life is turning out:

2 1/2 days a week I work at the Co-op; a local retail store. I'm working in the Bakery, which is actually pretty fun (you've got it... I get to wear doctor's gloves, one of those sexy Jazz hats and an apron!) the people are friendly and fun, but most importantly... I HAVE A PAYING JOB!  Ohh yeah!

The rest of the week is shared between my horses (usually afternoons), studying for my Yachtmaster exam in four weeks time, socializing with friends and family, strumming on my guitar, and doing Parelli Social Media.

Many of the Parelli Social Media team in Colorado: Brett, Me, Gina, Elizabeth, Mackenzie, Nicole, Mark, Petra, and Sabine! (Sharon, Marta, Sue and Beth are missing from this pic!)

I thoroughly enjoyed my 2 month internship in Colorado with Parelli (social media section) and I'm VERY pleased that I've been asked to continue doing Social Media from home! I'm pretty involved with ParelliTube, but will also be moving within the blogging sphere! I LOVE this job :) 

The Social Media office at Parelli Central, Colorado: pictures of the team-members based in different countries - left to right:Beth (UK) Marta (POLAND) Gina (USA) Me (UK)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Things can be deeper than they seem....

This year I learnt how to dive. I've never had a deep desire to learn how to dive, neither has it been a big goal in my life. I just found myself in the right place, at the right time, with the right kind of funds. What I didn't realize by taking a 5 day diving course, is that I would learn SO much more than diving....You see, I've had a lot of fun on top of the water. Sailing, surfing, body boarding, and swimming are just a few things that come to mind.
When I saw the world under the sea that I was reminded that there is more than one way to see and experience the world. In this case:Diagonally and Horizontally. Neither of these ways are right or wrong, but they're worlds apart.

Sometimes, we approach life with the wrong mindset. We view what's meant to be seen Horizontally as Diagonal.

Sometimes, the things slapping you in the face, the things that make you stumble, the things that you want so badly... but never seem to happen... need to be viewed differently. Don't be afraid to dive down, dear reader, and experience the world below the surface. There are corals down there, and beautiful wildlife. Will you dare to trust?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

life, and the things inside it

I must apologize for not writing a blog in what feels like... years! I don't really have a decent excuse, apart from I've been living life to the maximum, and internet to the minimum. I'm happy to report that I've gone from being jobless to definately having one job, hopefully two! I'll be joining my sister working at a co-operative retail store. It will be a bit like happy families, apart from the fact that we aren't allowed to work the same shifts... two Koetsier's may be a little too much dynamite in one day! The other job will be looking after horses for someone in the village.

I'm excited about life at the moment. Many of you will remember that maths has been an old nemesis of mine. Anyway, near the end of last year I decided to overcome my old issues, by taking a GCSE in maths. After completing the first 2 modules (and exams) I started travelling... and not doing maths... and travelling again... and not doing maths again! Anyway, two weeks ago I thought it might be an idea to get in touch with the lady organizing the GCSE to see whether I could complete the final module - only to find that she'd signed me up for final exams this week (this is the point where I racked my brain to find that we had actually discussed this in June, and this is also the point where I began to stress slightly!) So I have to say that the past 2 weeks have generally been full of numbers. There's nothing like cramming 6 months worth of work into 2 weeks, but there's also something really exhilarating about focused study time!

First exam was today, and I think I pretty much owned it! Yay! I'll have my final exam on Friday!

My latest hobbies have been playing guitar (I can now play some songs too!) and learning more about the continent of Africa. I'm now able to place and name ALL the countries in Africa, and most of the capitals of countries in southern africa and western africa. My next goal is to make the countries more than just names, and one of the great ways to do this is by reading books ! I read an awesome book about Zimbabwe, followed by the autobiography of South Africa journalist Donald Woods (who was later banned because of his fight for South Africa's liberation from Apartheid) and I'm currently reading a biography about Steve Biko, also written by Donald Woods.

I'm loving my horses. Blaine and I are focusing on developing in all four savvies - our latest focus has been Liberty (without a halter/any restraint). Bertie is such a lovely chappy! We've done all sorts of things over that past 2 weeks... walks on the road, leaned across his back, teaching him the seven games (Parelli) and generally showing him the world! He needs to learn how to respond to pressure, but he mostly takes everything in his stride.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Chill time with my sister, Julie Anne

Me on Blaine, Julie Anne on Tim

My new pony, Bertie!

Strumming guitars with my youngest sister, Kate

I spend some of my time trying to understand horses. I do this by spending time with like-minded people, and studying and reading from and about masters in the horse world, but most of all... by observing the horse!

The amusing thing is that the more I understand about horse behaviour, and their heirachy and needs, the more I seem to understand human interactions. Our world has come so far away from a Natural way of being, that we sometimes forget about our natural instincts and behaviour. We like to have full control of the world, but sometimes control results in going against the natural thread. By spending some time with animals, or in a natural environment (*cough* country walks? *cough*) I'm reminded of what life could and should be like... less planned... less stressful... quieter, stiller... with more capacity to enjoy, and less capacity to analyse... yup.

What I find AMAZING is that the same God that created the sea and storms and powerful creatures, created worms, flowers, and still days. The God that created the wind, also created the still. The God that created trees to shed their leaves each year, also sustains the tiniest of shoots in the spring. These things seem like such opposites, yet (in nature), there always is a balance between compassion and passion.

NOW. We're not exactly capable of physically being in two places at once, but our minds ALWAYS seem to be in more than one place. I think that we have tremendous capacity to think, to feel, to experience, but we limit these experiences by time-lines, and multi-tasking. Studying at the Parelli University, I became particularly aware of how 'in the moment' horses are. Horses live and feel through each moment of the day (and as Pat Parelli says... there are 3 moments in a second!) at the start of a new day, they're not planning their evening. BUT they are thinking about their immediate needs.... Are they safe? Are they comfortable? Do they have food? Is their play drive satisfied? And, as soon as one need has been met, a whole new set of needs may present themselves. I guess this is why some people find horses really unpredictable... it seems that as soon as the owner has 'figured the horse out,' the horse's strategy and needs change. A Horse's ability to live in each moment, makes it so much more capable of experiencing each moment, but also capable of letting go of each moment. One of the qualities of horses is that they forgive. I've become aware of how much I DON'T live in the moment. So... right now might be a wonderful wonderful experience, but I've also got to make sure that I'm prepared for tomorrow, yes? Well, to an extent, but we've gotta learn to live in the NOW. I currently don't have a major timeline in my life. I mean, I seek adventure constantly, and I like to find the purpose and reason behind doing thing. But, rather than trying to full my life with timelines and schedules, I'm learning to live moment by moment - even if those moments are shaped by a schedule!

This week has been fantastic. I've enjoyed playing with my horse, Blaine, and I've been putting some structure in our play sessions. During the 4 week fast track, we focused on one savvy per a week (online (groundwork) freestyle (riding) Liberty (groundwork w/out a halter) and Finesse (collected riding))  I'm trying to continue this at home, and have a particular focus for each week. Last week was Online, and this week: Freestyle. Blaine has become pretty strong and fit, which is great as we can practice some pretty exciting things, but I'm also re-establishing myself as his leader and gaining more of his respect. 

I decided to buy Bertie, the New Forest pony I spoke of last week. Bertie is 5 years old, with a great foundation, but he's ready to go and get more experience of life (including being ridden!) His owner didn't have time to give him this, so she decided to sell him. I've bought him as a 'project pony' for me to gain more experience. I'll probably sell or loan him once he's gained more confidence, especially if I find myself heading out to America again. 

My non-horse life is wonderful, too. I'm strumming away at my guitar, and I am already getting better. I discovered last week that I've got a maths exam in 3 weeks time... needless to say I've been revising madly! I'm also getting involved with the student groups in my church, and have met some lovely people at various socials. The Job-hunt continues! I may have a job looking after horses for someone in my village, and aside from this, I'm hoping to find a part-time job in town. 

Love & Blessings till next time! ¬Kerrin


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dreams and a purpose filled life.

We all start out with dreams.

We all hear about dreams. We see them in movies. We read about them in books. We see them written across many little girls faces. We all want to live the fairytale life with the 'happily ever after' slogan.

And then... for many... 'reality' hits. Difficulties get in the way. People hurt them. The world tries to box them, and their dreams fade away.

For me, life has been quite the opposite. I have parents who always have, and continue to, encourage me to pursue dreams and aspirations, rather than rules and regulations. I experience life outside of the box, and I always ask 'why?'

I think that life has a purpose to it, and each individual has a unique purpose. BUT too often, we confuse purpose and dreams as 'life the easy way.' When work is thrown at us, we take a step backwards and think 'hang on a minute... this isn't my dream!' I was priveleged to have attended one day of the Hillsong Conference in London. I had a wonderful day with friends, and Hillsong was absolutely amazing! I felt challenged to be less critical, and more loving (read a blog about the teaching here), especially when the speaker quoted Satchell Paige:

'Work like you don't need the money,
dance like no one is looking,
and love like you've never been hurt'

So here I am, trying to write a CV. I'm more interested in learning about the format, origin and meaning of a CV than actually writing the thing. I mean seriously... how do you put so much life onto one page?! (the answer is: make yourself a cup of tea, write a blog, and pretend that you're not procrastinating!)

The most exciting thing that happened this week (other than having a phone call with a good friend, attending hillsong, watching good movies, meeting friends for a catch up at a pub, chillaxing, kayaking etc) is that we brought Blaine back home yesterday! Its wonderful to be together after 6 months apart! I rode him bareback around the fields this morning, and I forgot how good my own horse feels :) When I started this blog, I intended to write about how Blaine has been a horse through which all my dreams have been fulfilled. But, it seems as if this post took on a life of its own....

OH, I also ended up looking at a project pony this week. I'm deciding whether I want 2 horses over the winter, but I'll tell you more next week!

I guess its time I stopped procrastinating! Speak to you all next week!

At home with the herd

Blaine and me

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Home. Pondering.

I know that I temporarily fell out of the bloggers world, but for those of you that were wondering, I can assure you that I haven't fallen off the face of this earth! My flight home was great, it had some stresses (such as my delayed flight from Denver causing me to miss my connecting flight to the UK!) but all in all, it was ok. The important thing is that I got home. Safe, happy, and tired!

Home-life is wonderful. I always forget how intense my family is. Longfields is totally a learning environment. It happens so naturally here. I can't help but feel excited at things like there being a bookshelf on every wall space!

I'm enjoying some downtime to think about my life (and where it is heading) and get reorganized. Having spent the past 6 months travelling, adjusting to the 'normal life' can seem a bit mundane and unexciting... y'know... getting a job, settling into a routine.. blah. I'm just giving myself time to process all the phenomenal experiences I've had in the 6 months! I really am a priveleged person... the knowledge, people, experiences and opportunities I've had could be what some get in a whole lifetime! Soo... I've got to make some decisions BUT my cup is far from empty, and a 'quieter season' where I do settle into a usual routine and job might be what I need!

Anyhow, here's a blog post that I wrote for Parelli Central

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Heading home... already!

My apologies for not writing a blog post recently, things have been busy, and a lot has happened since I last wrote! The most notable thing is that our Fast Track ended on Friday... and I'll be heading home tomorrow, Monday!

There's a lot to recap, and I'll go about doing that next week. I'll also share some photos with you all. In the meantime, you can read this blog post about my third week of fast track!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Everyone thinks England is the place for rain... but believe me, Colorado (USA) gets a fair share of rain too! We've had 2 beautiful weeks of blue skies and sun, but the past few days have been rainy and stormy! On one morning, playing with horses in the storms was far less attractive than sitting indoors with hot chocolate and Parelli coaches at hand! One of our coaches, Carmen Zuluaf, gave us a mind-boggling presentation, where she spoke about Horsenality and the misconceptions that go with it.

A couple of years ago, the Parelli's came up with something called Horsenality. Horsenality is basically a tool that helps humans to explode the code, and understand their horse's individual personality/traits. This helps when trying to communicate with the horse. First seek to understand (horsenality) and then seek to be understood (communicate). I'm talking about horses, but its funny how relevant this all is too humans!

Carmen said that any horsenality can be a nightmare or a dream. And, like humans, horsenalities change. Our overall goal as horsemen, is to produce confident horses (and humans!) that are not limited by excuses such as 'Its in my nature to be scared/controlling/unmotivated/unfocused...' Horsenality is not meant to categorize, limit, or box the horse. Carmen spoke about how our belief in our horses determines what they'll be. We need to believe that our horses are capable of being who they're meant to be.

She also spoke about focusing on the goal or end result in your horse. A right brained horse needs to become more calm and confident, whereas a left brained horse may need to become more willing and motivated. She said that instead of focusing on what horsenality the horse is, we should focus on which one of these four aspects is missing. If we're asking ourselves "Does my horse need to be more willing? More confident? Motivated?" we can adjust to fit each moment, and won't be limited by their innate horsenality.

Me and Fast Track friends

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Playing with a horse online

There are four different ways that you can play with a horse - Online (groundwork with a leadrope/halter) Freestyle (relaxed riding) Liberty (groundwork without a leadrope/halter) Finesse (collected riding)

John Baar gave us a demo about playing with our horses online. There are 3 reasons that we play with our horses online:

1. To prepare the horse or rider
2. To establish communication
3. To teach something new

Its amazing how knowing why we do something enables us to find a new quality. All too often I find myself purposelessly doing things with my horse, and then I wonder why I haven't got anywhere in that session?! Establishing leadership with a horse is very important, and one of the things that defines a leader is that they have a PLAN! Now if I'm aware that I'm playing with my horse online for one of the above reasons, it will help me to have a plan... hmmm.... how interesting!

Monday, September 6, 2010

10 Qualities of a horseman

There are 10 qualities of a horseman, the first 4 are shared by the horse and human, and the last 6 are mostly for the human.

1.Heart & Desire

One could extend on any one of these qualities, but I'm going to focus on the first 4. Pat Parelli regularly talks about having your horse fit in 3 different ways, and in the following order:

1. Mentally
2. Emotionally
3. Physically

Mental fitness is respect. Emotional fitness is also impulsion. Physical fitness is flexion. Can you see any correlations to the qualities of a horseman? Its important to keep these qualities in order, as they'll have an effect on each other. So...there is no point in asking a disrespectful horse to flex, or an emotional (impulsive) horse to be flexible.

I've realized that I've been muddling these qualities up! Without realizing it, I sometimes ask Boltar for impulsion, when I haven't got his respect. So, we've been focusing on establishing respect in the small things. One of the biggest dominance issues I've noticed is that he is not great at yielding his forequarters. So, I've been more particular about him yielding to and from pressure, instead of putting up with it. Once I became aware of this, I felt as if I was making all my corrections personal, and that I'd do hardly anything I'd set out to do in our sessions, so I had a chat to one of our coaches. My coach helped me to see that instead of focusing on the task or desired response, I was allowing Boltar to change my original focus. I would end up going all over the play ground... without gaining the desired response! Hum....

So my new focus isn't going to only be on what his emotional state is, or how he's responding to me. Rather, I'll focus on establishing leadership by moving his feet. I'm also going to play with being more particular and specific, especially about my personal space, and how I want him to respond to pressure.

I'm learning a ton about focus! I'll be honest. Becoming aware of what I DON'T know isn't comfortable, but learning happens outside of the comfort zone, right?! I'm finding a new phase 1, which will strengthen my phase 4, and will help me to find my neutral (forgive the Parelli terms...)

I've written another blog post for Parelli Central, which you might enjoy to read!

Monday, August 30, 2010

First day of Fast Track!

Today was the first day of my fast track... and I really enjoyed it! We were tested on a bunch of things, but that really appealed to the unschooler in me, as it gives you an idea of a)how much you DO know, and b)what you need to work/aim towards.

You'll be glad to know that I'm taking hundreds of notes (YES... left handed Kerrin is writing like mad!!) so you'll get to hear about my experiences... I'll also be sharing my experiences with all on the Parelli Central platforms, so be sure to check in there!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Almost finished my social media internship....

Between doing social media stuff, giving tours, attending meetings, playing with our horses (before and after work, and during lunch break...) time seems to fly by! So much so, that I'm embarking on my final week here at Parelli Social Media. Yes, I did say my final week.

It just so happened that there's a fast track starting at the campus, next week. It also just so happens that I fly back to the UK on the 29th Sept - a couple of days after the fast track ends. It also happens that I have a horse at the campus, and I 'm confident that our horsemanship level is fast track worthy. I also discovered that I've earned more than half the money for the fast track, just with working student credits. It seemed like too good a coincidence to miss, so I spoke to my boss about participating in the fast track.... and hey presto! After some chats with various people, I'll be starting the fast track on Monday, and ending my time here on Friday!

I'm sad to be finishing my time in the office. I've really really enjoyed it. More than I ever thought I would. Social Media is a very exciting thing, especially when its Parelli related! But I'm pretty confident that I'll be involved with social media in one form or another in the future; even if its purely keeping my own blog.

If you'd like to read my 'Link Round up' on the Parelli Central blog, click here

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Never ending self-improvement...Life is for Learning!

Shakespeare said that "all the world's a stage" and someone else spoke about learning happening all the time (don't quote me on this, but I think John Holt said something to that extent). I'm reminded that life is a performance, and oftentimes, a spontaneous and unpracticed performance. If this performance has not been seen or experienced before, it leads me to think that it must be a learning environment, too!
I'm a constant learner. I'm pretty good at doing new things, and really enjoying things! I guess this is mostly due to the unschooling method by which I was educated. I've learned how to think outside of the box, and learn purely for the joy of learning. Interest and passion certainly have a lot to do with the motivation for learning.

So... I thought I'd share my latest discoveries with you! Firstly, I have to say that being in America, in Parelliville, and being involved in Social Media is a learning platform in itself... but outside of that I'm learning some tangible things too.
I have a passion for sailing, and have been pretty involved with the Ocean Youth Trust South for the past few years, I have been a member of their volunteer sea staff since the beginning of last year. I originally started out as a Bosun-mostly because I was too young to do anything else-but I really enjoyed playing a role where I didn't have to fit in with everyone's schedules, and where I got to learn a LOT about boat engines and maintenance. Anyway, now that I'm officially an adult in the world's eyes, I'm hoping to become a 3rd Mate with the Ocean Youth Trust South, which means that I'll need to do an assessment with them when I'm back in the UK. I'm hoping this will happen in 2010, but perhaps I'll have to wait until next year.Anyway, I thought it would be a good idea to take my Yachtmaster theory qualification, so I'm currently studying for that when I get the cnace.

During my travels this year, I rekindled my passion for the continent of Africa. I also realized how little I know about this continent. So I'm currently memorizing the countries of Africa with the help of this program.... My 3 months in Tanzania this year (from March-June) taught me many things, the most obvious probably being the language of KiSwahili. I'm currently trying to get beyond the greetings, so I have downloaded a language program where I get to practice my Swahili more regularly.

The next big learning experience has been Parelli, Parelli, PARELLI! I've realized that I need to polish up on the knowledge aspect of things.... luckily my cabin mates are in the same boat as me, so we currently learn and test each other together. At the moment we're focusing on the 3 Laws of Parelli, the 7 Keys to Success, and the 8 Principles. I might actually bring myself to write them all out for you one of these days!

Me, Sharon & Gina

Of course now that I have Boltar, I want to spend every bit of free time out with him, but I try to set aside some time in the evenings (after dark) to focus on the above things!! Why can't we have a 30 hour day?!

Anyway, I hope you're all having a fantastic week, and continuously embrace learning! Maybe you care to share your learning experiences with us bloggers?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ice cream. Horses. Fun times.

Ice cream face....

Everyone has an icon, a trademark. I'd like to think I go a lot deeper than food, but I have to admit that eating ice cream out of the tub is one of my best habits... its just one of those Kerrin things really. I mean, c'mon, ice cream HAS to be eaten in large measures, right? And obviously, buying a *BIG* tub of ice cream, grabbing a spoon, and just digging in is the ONLY way to eat ice cream properly....

I even took my trait over to Tanzania,
where I made my cousin eat Chocolate ice cream with me..around midnight!

Anyway. So last night was one of those exciting nights, where we bought a tub of ice cream, and Gina, Sharon, and myself gathered around with spoons and dug in. Of course the couple of ladies hanging around in the lodge soon noticed us, and couldn't help but join us. And there we sat for a good half hour, with strands of hay dotted around our clothes, a bit of horse snot on our arms, dirt under our fingernails. Munching away. Content. Properly horsed for a change.

YES, I did just say properly horsed. I now have a horse... at the Parelli campus... this is really what dreams are made of! Anyway, I guess I'll have to tone down my excitement, and backtrack for you dear reader... the last time I wrote, getting a horse was still pretty much only an idea...

I've been amazed at how many horses I've been offered over the past week, but I narrowed my options down to using either Renee's horse Boltar (whom I've played with a couple of times and have really enjoyed) or Sharon's second horse, Beau. I couldn't quite decide over the two, so we decided that I'd choose after playing with Beau. We spent last weekend in Las Vegas, picking up Sharon and Gina's horses, as planned. I really enjoyed the drive, and it was great to see where Sharon comes from, and of course meeting her horses was awesome! Everyone at the barn (where Sharon boards Sienna and Beau) is really friendly, and as I was saying to Sharon, its like having one big happy horsey family! As we got Beau out for me to play with, we noticed that he was limping quite badly. It turned out to be pretty serious, so that decided things for me. Beau would be staying in Las Vegas, and I'd be borrowing Boltar (who was kept only 20 minutes from the campus in Colorado). I'm so glad that I had Boltar as a back up, but I feel sorry for Sharon, she's been through this with Beau before.... anyway, to read more about our Vegas adventures, take a peek at Sharon's blog!

I had my down day on Monday, where I was really missing my horse, Blaine. Of course it didn't help that the other two girls had their horses, and were obviously very excited, but they were great and very understanding! By Tuesday (yesterday) I couldn't afford to be down, as the excitement started creeping in....Boltar would be arriving at the campus in the evening!

Pat Parelli was just finishing off something as Boltar arrived at the campus, and he happened to come over and say hello. What amazing timing.... me, with a horse, greeting Pat. I couldn't help but feel that there are exciting things in store for me.

Its useful that Boltar has had lessons at the campus before, because he was pretty relaxed, and I spent the evening playing with him. Gina and Sharon had their horses too, and our friend Mackenzie came out and took some awesome pictures! The evening was beautiful, and even more complete with horses.

Sharon & Sienna - Excitement!

Gina and her horse, Titan

Me & Boltar

Friday, July 30, 2010

Another exciting week in the world of a Parelli Social media intern!

I've come to the conclusion that every week here at Parelli Central is unique, I really do love it!

So, first things first, my EXCITING news of the week is that I'm now earning credits as a working student. So, the time spent working a Social Media Intern at Parelli Central will account towards credits, that I can spend on courses and the university program at one of the campuses! Seriously, how awesome is that?!

The next exciting thing, is that we (social media interns Sharon, Gina, and myself) are now allowed to keep horses at the campus. After getting over the disappointment of realizing that my couple of $ in my bank account wouldn't buy me a super horse-transporting jet, I started looking at my potential options... do I lease a horse? Do I use someone else's horse? And if so, from whom?

Okay. Sharon happens to own two horses, both of which are Parellied and have Parelli equipment (my other quandry... do I really want to get a lease horse AND have to buy new equipment?) and it just so happens that Sharon has a 3 horse trailer, so she'll be able to bring both her horses, and Gina's horse, back to the campus next weekend! Of course I'll be using one of Sharon's horses (Beau) and paying for his keep.

Well people, I'm off to Vegas next weekend, and I'll soon have a horse to play with! Yeeeeehaaaaaa....

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Loosing control....or is it, learning to trust?

When living in Parelliville, one becomes particularly aware of character types and developing those characters. You’re suddenly reminded of terms such as Left Brain Extrovert, or Right Brain Introvert. Of course, when you don’t have a horse to practice on (and can’t ‘inadvertently’ realize that your horse’s development is strangely similar to your own) you practice on your co-workers, customers, cabin mates, and yourself! After all, the Parelli program is about relationship, and that's possible to achieve across the board - with humans, animals, and as I'm now discovering: computers, teehee. In order to fully enter into a relationship, one has to be aware of interactions. And, it’s almost impossible to interact if one isn’t in-tune with oneself. Being honest about where you're at, and where you're personally developing is a challenge.

I’m a person that likes to have control of my world. I like to be on top of things. I like to feel as if I’ve completed my task list, and that I’m doing brilliantly! But, what about when your world expands so drastically (*BAM!*) that you can’t be in control? What about when people don’t know you as ‘Kerrin the owner of her world!’ but you’re just the girl with the blonde hair? I’ve come to the conclusion that travelling is an exposing thing! There’s nothing quite like being in an entirely new culture, with different accents, lingos, and social conducts. The funny thing is that I could get annoyed with the different cultures, but no, I’M the foreigner in this situation. When in Rome, do as the Roman's do, right? (shhh… we won’t mention that I’m teaching my cabin mate to speak *proper* English. *ahem* "the rain in Spain…") Anyway. So, of course my natural response is to try to master being a ‘roman!’ BUT, when you spend 3 months travelling alone in one country, a weekend in the next country, an afternoon in another, a month in another, and 3 months in another (and ALL are diverse and unique!) you realize that you can’t adjust to fit every country, and every individual’s needs.

Anyway, to return to ‘Parelli lingo,’ I’ve realized that when I don’t feel on top of my world, I retreat inside of myself; I go introverted, so to speak. At times, I’ve been frustrated that I haven’t been my usual, extroverted, opinionated self. But, that’s okay. I’m learning to trust. To trust that even though I’m not perfect, others can depend on and relate to me just the way that I am. Y'know, I'm realizing that community can be depended upon in a less than artificial manner.

I would never have called myself a control freak, or a big fish in a small pond (I’m constantly learning, and finding new puddles and ponds to swim in!) BUT I’m learning so much about giving up the control. About loosing my ‘sanity and maturity’ in a sense, that sometimes, you just have to be. Sometimes, my opinions really don’t matter that much. And that's all okay.

Ohhhhhhh boy! Once again, I'm out of my comfort zone. My Kerrin bubble is being expanded. And y'know what... it actually feels great! I'm alive. I live a wild and precious life. My God loves me. Life is GREAT!

On my finishing note, I've been greatly aware of this quote lately. It's sometimes useful to be reminded of the fact that we only have one life, and that life is a very wild and precious thing!

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

Dancing with my friend, fellow intern, and cabin mate-Gina.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Meandering with words

I've decided that Sharon (one of the Social Media Interns, who also shares our cabin) is far better than me at giving daily accounts of life here in Pagosa Springs. Of course the fact that she is camera-happy makes her blog even more lively! Check her blog out:

We had a wonderful evening around the campfire last night. After a BBQ dinner, everyone gathered around the fire for a singsong with their guitars, voices, dance moves (you should see my 'skype dance'!) heel-clickers, and clapping hands. A local musician comes out every week, and leads the singsong. Pat Parelli was there with his guitar, and a couple of my friends on the fast-track sang us a duet. It was amazing fun! :)

I'm in a quandry as to what I should do this evening. There are more songs (with the same musician) at a local pub this evening, most of the people at the campus are going, especially as the media team will be filming for one of the episodes of 'horseman's apprentice.' The other option I have is to stay at the campus, and watch Pat Parelli and some of his students riding... and then again... I'm trying to fit in at least an hour of studying in everyday (I'm aiming to do both a Maths exam and my RYA Yachtmaster exam in October/November) so I guess setting myself up with my papers and brain would be a sensible option... ho hum, I've got too much to choose from.

I'm having a good day at the office. I decided that today was the day to read through dressage blogs... I've found some really informative things, but this quote by Nuno Oliveria (one of the dressage masters) really stood out to me:

"The secret in riding is to do few things right. The more one does, the
less one succeeds. The less one does, the more one succeeds."

Nuno Oliveira (1998, 29)

The quote is not only relevant to riding and horse-handling, but I guess it rings true in all areas of life. The challenge is to learn to channel your time and focus.

On that note, I'm going to channel my time in the direction of food... it's my lunch break!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Parelli Social Media World!

I guess the statement 'time flies when you're having fun' rings true for me! Today marks my third week of being here. While Gina and I comment on the fact that we've been here so long, and don't want these three months to finish, our friends on the fast-track course are all complaining that their four weeks at the campus are over! The group of fast-track students will be leaving this weekend, as will the people participating in the Parelli Level 2 breakthrough course. Things at the campus will probably be quiet for a while, what with only the university students, interns, externs and coaches at the campus for the following week or two!

The past two weeks have been busy, as a lot has been going on in the Parelli media world! First things first, we have another social media intern! Sharon is awesome, and Gina and I are enjoying working with her and sharing our cabin. Early last week, Sue Shoemark, and Neil Pye returned from the UK, along with Pat and Linda Parelli. This resulted in a lot of excitement in the office, and we've had lots of different meetings; quite a bit of brainstorming has been going on. One statement that Pat Parelli regularly makes is: 'the only constant thing in life is change.' This is so true, not only in his approach to life, but with all the things happening in the company and program. Anyway, my bubble of change in the Parelli world is on the social media front, and I think we're all pretty excited about the things going on in the world of Parelli social media: blogger, twitter, facebook, tumblr, and youtube.

I've mostly been involved with blogger and youtube, and doing the tedious task of adding people on twitter! As well as contributing to the Parelli Central blog, I've been reading many different blogs (mostly Parelli student blogs, but also competitive rider's blogs, artist blogs, and online equestrian magazine blogs) and commenting on them where appropriate. It's really good fun, especially when one comment starts off a conversation with about five or six different bloggers!

Anyway guys, I think its time that I get going... catch y'all soon!

Friday, July 9, 2010

1 week down, 11 more to go!

Hellloooo everyone!! (I know that in one of my Tanzania posts, I greeted you all in Swahili... BUT I think it will be a while before you witness me using cowboy greetings)

Well. 1 week down, 11 more to go. I'm happy, life is good, I'm actually at Parelli Central, for real. I go to sleep in my log cabin to the sound of horses, and I wake up to the sound of horses (yes, and to the sound of my cabin mate's alarm clock, but thats irrelevant right?) Today I bought Parelli clothes (woweee, so nicee) yes, I feel quite official.

The view from my cabin...
Need I say more?

hhmm, those of you who know me well, would understand that I've said enough. It's one of those "phew, Kerrin's happy!" moments.... but, for the detail lovers amongst you (and because I like writing, and I miss sharing the day to day interactions with my precious family and friends) I'll give you a bit of a blow-by-blow account. Rightyho.

So I arrived here on Wednesday evening, after a very long flight. I had my moments on the plane when I was so tired, I just wanted to be back in my bed, and I wondered what the heck I was doing.. I mean, I've just spent the previous 3 months near the bottom of the world, away from my 'normal life' (if you can define normal in my world), why would I want to spend another 3 months away from homebase?! And...I wouldn't even get to play with horses! BUT those thoughts passed as soon as I came close to Durango airport. The excitement built as I noticed the mountains, and open fields, and horses, and cattle, and streets and cars that looked like toys from up high, but became more real as we approached. 'This is real Kerrin. You're doing it. You're living your dream.'

Of course any notion of being tired disappeared as I got off the plane, and prepared to start the next 3 months of my life (and who knows, my commitment to Parelli will most probably go on for longer than 3 months in one form or another...) Gina, my new cabin mate, taxi-service, new found friend, and the other social media intern quickly found me, and we talked the whole way back from the airport! We found that we have a lot in common, and pretty much hit it off from the start.

The scenery en-route from Durango to Pagosa Springs was gorgeous, and the excitement that both Gina and I felt as we pulled into the Parelli Campus drive way was just amazing! Here we were, at the place where a lot of it all started, the venue where so many of the Parelli professional has come from, and educational films had been shot (Gina and I were constantly like: "Hey, that's where Linda filmed the circling game dvd.." and "wow, that's where Pat and Magic did a savvy club demo!")

We quickly found Brett, who basically plays the role of managing all that goes on in social media, and with whom we've corresponded with a lot (I also had my interviews with him). And, it didn't take us much longer to find the food! Wednesday night is BBQ and campfire night at the ranch, so we clearly arrived on a good day, although by now the tired-factor was building up for both of us (Gina had driven across America for 3 days to get to Colorado!) so we only stayed for a couple of songs around the campfire...

Our first day was spent chillaxing, getting to know the people, ranch and offices (Parelli Central is about 5-10 mins drive from the ranch) and Friday was spent at the office... followed by a three day weekend! Over the weekend we were involved with the 4th July parade through Pagosa Springs, and afterwards we had Pizza and Watermelon at the ranch (Pat Parelli was there, so that was awesome!) and on Sunday we went to see a rodeo. Gina was amused that I hadn't been to a rodeo before, and started teaching me how to 'yeeeehaaaa' properly *cough* apparently I'm too British.. or is it South African? hummm

Monday was a brilliant, as being a public holiday, we got the day off, but everyone on the ranch continued as normal! We had great fun joining in with a bunch of the theory lessons, and watching the fast-track student's lessons with their horses, oh and we also watched a couple of demo's by the mastery students and interns...

The rest of the week was spent at the office, familiarizing ourselves with all the cool things going on in the Parelli media world! I'm really enjoying the internship so far, its really interesting. Anyway, I'll upload photos in due course, and I'll also write a post about what I've been up to in the office!

Until next time..... LOVE

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I'm in Colorado!

Hi All

Just a quick note to say that I'm safely in Colorado, the flight was as exciting as flights can be, but I had good company, movies, and books... so it was all good! The time zones difference is confusing, but hey, nothing I can't adjust to :)

I can't explain how wonderful it is to be here, and I still can't quite believe that I'm staying on the Parelli ranch, and writing this post from a Parelli computer! Its great...

Anyway, I'll blog whenever I can
Love to y'all (hehe watch this space for more american slang)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Blaine days...

On Tuesday, we went down to visit my horse, Blaine. I loaned him out while in Tanzania (and will continue to do so while I'm in America) and was interested to see what he'd be like after 3 months apart. Someone once told me that the real test with 'problem horses,' is whether they'll allow another person to handle them. In one of Linda Parelli's DVDs, she talks about some of the different forms of confidence - that of self, environment, as a learner, in the herd/human and routine. Essentially, true confidence will extend to any situation. Many horses will start trusting a human, but that confidence and trust will be limited to only *that* particular person, and often only in that environment. How often do you see a horse dragging its owner around a showground, with the owner wailing: "he never behaves like this at home!"Its my theory that true leadership produces confidence in all aspects of life. 

Anyway, I was interested to see what Blaine's confidence would look like, as his biggest issue had always been that of trust (confidence), especially in humans. There was a stage where he would allow me to ride him, but if anyone else tried, they'd get bucked off.. where he wouldn't allow a male anywhere near him. Funnily enough, he was always tolerant of children, perhaps this is because they are far less demanding and dominating than adults. At the beginning of this year, when I started looking for a loan home, Blaine had developed a certain amount of confidence at home, so much so that he had the confidence to express himself, even confident enough to be a bit cocky! But in a different environment, without me..? Longfields is a peaceful environment, it would be hard not to relax here, but it did concern me that Blaine hadn't been in anywhere near a busy yard in the 5 years that I'd had him. 

3 months down the line, with a lot of handling from his loaner, Tracey, Blaine is even MORE confident than the last time I saw him. He is still as playful as ever, and has kept a huge amount of his sensitivity. I think there are a couple of things affecting his confidence - firstly, the leadership I've offered him over the the years has given him the self-confidence he needs. Secondly, Tracey has been hugely accommodating, and willing to take the time it takes. She has never put Blaine in a situation that would undermine his confidence. Perhaps I can be a bit too goal directed at times, so Blaine finds me too intense; Tracey is a lot gentler than me. Third, he is being kept at a lovely yard, but I think the most important factor is the timing. He was ready for this.

We had the most amazing day together! I love having my owner camera crew (aka my mum and sisters) and they got some cracking pictures...they took loads, so I'll be uploading more when I've got some time on my hands! ALSO, we managed to film our Level 3 Online Audition (yehaaaa!) and, I still need to edit it, hopefully our Level 3 Liberty as well!

If you'd like to veiw my Online audition, here is the link:

Monday, June 14, 2010

My Parellising =D

Well.. one of the exciting things about being home was finally being able to touch my blue string! For those of that aren't familiar with the Parelli program, the levels system is similar to that of the martial arts grading. I completed Level 2 in March, and my blue string arrived while I was in Tanzania. My brother has been guarding my string jealously from my sisters and mum, all of which have now got their red strings (level 1) and can't wait to have their own blue strings!

I'm off to see my precious horse tomorrow. I loaned Blaine out while I was in Tanzania, and we'll be continuing that loan while I'm in America. We're taking our video camera along, as I'm hoping to film the final bits and bobs for the Online aspect of my Level 3 assessment. 

My flight to Colorado is now booked, weyheyy its so exciting!!! I'll be flying at the end of the month, which gives me enough time to celebrate my 18th birthday, spend time with my cousin visiting from South Africa, and spend my final week spectating at a Parelli clinic run by Silke Valentin! I think that all these things will leave me amped up and full of gusto for the Parelli office. 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

... and there are fat ponies back at home, too!

Well... I've come to the conclusion that I'll never be able to keep my distance from the equine species for long. My first day back home in the UK, and I was already wandering down the field to meet my sister's new pony, and to say hello to the other four chubbies! Of course, the fact that my parents have bought a (really snazzy) quad bike, makes trips down the field even more appealing..

 Helping Julie with Tim

I'm so impressed at how the family have developed in their horsemanship. Longfields is such a learning zone; there is always something on the go. With Parelli being a main focus, we regularly hear the voices of Pat and Linda Parelli echoing through our house in DVD format, and of course reflected in the way that we think and speak!  

Preparing for a hack with Kate on Cloud, and me on mum's pony, Teri

8 year old Kate has got a great new pony, called Cloud. It seems as if he'll be the perfect match for feisty and independent-minded Kate, who wants to do everything 'for herself.' Although lacking in confidence, Cloud is essentially a very Left Brained pony, so it will be interesting to see the partnership develop between Kate and Cloud. I've been helping Kate with him, partly because I couldn't keep my hands off the ropes, and partly because she needs some assistance. This week we worked on refining the Seven Games, softening Kate's phases (she tends to be a bit too quick, resulting in all her cues becoming hugely unsubtle), and getting Kate up and riding him. She was so pleased to have hacked him out at the beginning of the week, and finished the week with cantering him - both in a saddle on the bridleway, and bareback in the fields at home!

Long phase 1, quick 2,3,4

13 year old Julie is doing great work with both her ponies. JJ seems to have gone lame, and we're concerned that its an old leg injury affecting him, but the extra time has freed Julie to do more with Tim, and they are doing some fantastic work together. Timmy is extremely right brained, and being a right brainer herself, Julie has now got the maturity to understand Tim and give him exactly what he needs. In a recent session with the two of them, we played at extending the 7 games. We realized that the foundations are now in place to further challenge their relationship, so I set Julie some challenges, such as playing the games from behind Tim (zones 3, 4 and 5)


I've been rewatching the new Parelli Level 3 pack, and these are a couple of the things I've been picking up on:

  • You’re either sensitizing or desensitizing your horse. Working with a pair like Kate and Cloud, I have become so aware of not assuming things. Both of them tend to be very busy, and will act on what you told them to do 20 mins ago, but of course the lesson plan may have changed by then! They can be deceptive, as their 'confidence and obedience' may look amazing, until you realize that you didn't actually ask them to do that task... when you correct this, the pony/child may not seem so confident anymore!  Of course teaching assumptions is relative to sensitivity levels; if you're unintentionally teaching your horse to react - you're sensitizing him. But, say you don't follow through with a particular task, you teach the horse to disobey you - desensitizing. You want to find a 'sensitivity balance' where the horse respects you, and tunes into what *you* are asking them to do.
  • You have to understand prey animal psychology. Safety, comfort, food and play (in that order) are highly important to prey animals. You must find where your horse is at; there is no point in offering a horse comfort when they are actually seeking safety, and vise versa. 
  • Some horses dignity is not intact because they’ve been put through force fear and intimidation. They only react, and never engage. They feel as if their dignity has been taken away. I love the way that dignity sums it all up. After all, how can we expect a horse to respect us, when the human race has never respected them? The start of a relationship with a horse, the place where they begin to engage, is when we hand them back their dignity. When we respect them. I find that recognizing the smallest things (as Pat says, the slightest try) is what makes all the difference... for instance, if the horse doesn't want to be touched, how about respecting that, and not touching him? But, if we're respecting them, there is an expectation that they respect us. They don't have to like us immediately, but they must respect us in turn. 
  • You can shoot a gun off any horse... once. Confidence is for life. Exposing a horse is the start of confidence. Stay away from right and wrong, just do the natural thing. Confidence does not necessarily equal sensitivity (response)